Business Overview

The community bank of Curtí was founded in 2016 as a way to provide financial access to credit and savings to the community. They have strong leadership and are a key actor for financial inclusion in the region.

Community Bank of Curtí - Curtí, Panama

Economic Challenge

The community of Curtí is a quite active community; as you drive or walk by there are shops alongside the road that sell staple crops and other seasonal agricultural products. There are a few new stores, a restaurant, and a bar. However, agriculture remains the main economic activity of the community. In spite of the hardworking and entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Curtí, they face many challenges to make their businesses grow and develop. The main one is the lack of access to credit from commercial/national banks, which limits the capacity for people of Curtí to better their economic opportunities for the future. This is why the community bank of Curtí has become successful. However, the bank still has the challenge to expand its financial services within the community, something that their leadership board has recently been strategizing.

The Business

The community bank of Curtí is located in the Alto Bayano region in Eastern Panama. The community of Curtí is a melting pot of Emberá, Guna and Latino people. Remarkably, this is one of the things that the community bank members of Curtí are very proud about, so much that they call their community bank “Las 3 Etnias”. In spite of having a relatively low membership (15), the community bank of Curtí has a very strong leadership. It was one of the first community banks to issue Kiva loans and it has also recently built their physical office. Curtí is part of another landmark with Global Brigades: they are starting the pre-savings program for the construction of sanitary units for this community, which is expected to benefit dozens of families whether they are part of the community bank or not. This continues to make of the Community Bank of Curtí a key actor for financial inclusion in the region.


Competitive Advantage

The community bank of Curtí has a total annual revenue of $2,590.20 USD and its total profits reached $2,430.70 USD. For a small bank like Curtí, this is an outstanding performance, as it is within the top 10 most profitable community banks in Panama.

The community bank of Curtí won the prize for the best membership attendance at the Community Bank Summit in 2016.


The community bank has developed a strong executive board, but they are in need of finding new members to take on leadership roles. They are looking for ways to get members interested in becoming involved with the executive board, given that some members of it (such as the treasurer) have been in their position for 4+ years.
Another challenge they have is learning how to showcase their growth and progress to their members, which they consider to be an empowering element of their work as a community bank. They would like to have a review of their financial books and receive a consultancy that helps them look at their own trends in terms of their performance, so that their members can see how far they have come.
Lastly, these trends are helpful in providing insights about how the Community Bank of Curtí can sustain its operations in the long term. Their current profits and projections indicate that the bank will continue to grow, but expenses that were not considered in the past are now arising, such as their office maintenance. They see it relevant to learn more about financial planning for their community bank, as they are reaching a maturity stage where this topic becomes more relevant.

Business Snapshot

Loans administered since 2016
Savings at EOY 2019
Loan Fund at EOY 2019
Capital raised

Next Steps

The tasks thatCommunity Bank of Curtí has prioritized are:

1: Conduct an audit to the community bank's savings/loan portfolio books
2: Leadership workshop for the leadership board and members
3: Identify areas for improvement based on the data collected

Page Last Updated:June 25, 2020